Biblical Archaeology Review 13:3, May/June 1987

Queries & Comments

Praise and Blame for La Sor

I enjoyed your article on “Discovering What Jewish Miqva’ot Can Tell Us About Christian Baptism,” BAR 13:01, by William La Sor. I found it scholarly, well researched and well written. I would like to see more articles like this, paralleling archaeological facts with church customs. Well done!

Reverend Ralph E. Freda Lakewood, New Jersey

I hope Professor La Sor’s interpretation of archaeological findings concerning Miqva’ot is more accurate than his distinction between Jewish immersion and Christian baptism. To say that “Christian baptism … is initiatory” is a complete misrepresentation of Christian belief and the Bible. Professor La Sor is wrong in stating that baptism “ … initiates the person into the sect.” A person becomes a Christian through acceptance of Christ’s death as an atonement for sin, not through some “initiation” called baptism. The professor overreaches when he talks of baptism as some sort of initiation and underreaches when he refers to Christian belief as a “sect.”

A sect is a group united by some specific doctrine and is usually thought of as persons that do not accept the traditional beliefs of a larger group. Since Professor La Sor made an effort to introduce the “technically correct” terms “initiatory” and “purificatory,” he should have used a term more technically correct than sect, also.

I look forward to future issues of BAR with articles as interesting (including the one I take issue with) and pictures as vivid as in the January/February 1987 issue.

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